Children, Family, travel

Life’s a beach…vacations that don’t kill me PART 4

IMG_3943.JPGKids…am I right?

Kids on vacation (and by kids, I generally mean younger kids) are a job to manage during what should be your time to relax and rejuvenate your tired bones from all the adulting you’ve had to do over the past year or so. Some folks’ solution is to leave the kids at home, which I admit sounds nice. But…for those vacations where you’re all together, a little planning helps the childcare chore not seem so…”chore-y”.

Before vacation, start collecting fun things for the kids to do. Whether it’s waiting in the airport, sitting in the car for long periods of time or just in between those moments of awesome fun where you just want to rest for thirty minutes. It’s easy to put the kids in front of electronic devices and I’m not gonna dispense my position on that in this post.

The Rocket Science- The secret here is the fun longevity quotient. and to solve this mathematical enigma, you have to think like your child and that means thinking with the time frame your kid will use when evaluating the funness of the item/ object you have presented him/ her with. On top of that, you also have to consider the mess factor, the sharing likelihood, the jealousy, the impact of risk management/ loss and the damage deposit you have put on the place you’re staying in. So…permanent markers or a “how to make your own working volcano” science kit probably isn’t the way to go in this instance.

Activities- Dot-to-dot books, mazes, coloring books, blank sketch pads/ notebooks, search and find books, car bingo, kid binoculars, Crayola wonder marker sets (they only write on the special paper), library books (consider the potential loss of the book here and judge accordingly), lap pads, neck pillows, barbie dolls, transformers, etch a sketch, pipe cleaners…these are all workable fun things for the kids to play with and occupy themselves with. Check out dollar stores or even your toy box at home. The idea is to keep the activity stuff a surprise for the trip to increase the time they’ll actually be interested in it.

Have the kids pack their own back packs with their things right before- they get a quick sneak peek at the goodies they get to play with once the trip is underway but don’t let them look at anything too long. Consider taking inventory of the kids’ back packs and adding that to your packing list so that you are sure to grab all items when it’s time to pack to go home!

Exercise- Kids are little, their attention span is shorter, the ants in their pants far succeed the amount of ants in a grown up’s pants. Keep that in mind and plan accordingly. For road trips, look for fast food with playgrounds. If you’re picnicking en route, stop at a place where you can let your kids run laps in a safe area. Make a game out of having them hop on one foot from one place to another, see who can jump the furthest…anything that gets them using muscles and not just walking. The muscle usage is important to get that energy out quicker so you get some lasting results in terms of calm and patience from the kids when you stuff them back into the car.

Snacks- Water bottles! The kind where they have to suck liquid out, not just bottles with twist caps. The liquid in a cup or twist top bottle was made to be spilled on a child or the floor so the question isn’t if, it’s when. Sports water bottles…put whatever liquid you want in it, I will not judge here.

For snacks, think of the mess you’ll be cleaning up…because you’ll be cleaning up a mess. I’ll tell you we limit snacks in the car because the kids don’t need to eat all the time and we generally stop enough so that snack time is handled outside the car. But if snack time happens in the car, think about kid capability…choking likelihood of the snack object (because it’s always a treat to hear a kid struggling on a goldfish while you’re speeding down the interstate), what that snack will look like after it’s met a child’s foot smashing it into the floorboard, etc. Our kids love to eat apples and I’m cool with cleaning up an apple core, if needed.

The aftermath- Coming home from vacation can be exhausting. And kids generally aren’t much help in this area. I don’t blame them for not wanting to come home and they are really too small to help with the heavy lifting. Something that I like to do with the kids is show them some of the pictures we took while on vacation so they’ll start reminiscing about the fun they had. They retell their adventures with sparkly eyes and enthusiasm. I liken this to nailing the memory trunk shut so the adventures are securely inside.

So over the course of this little series, it may seem like common sense all the things I listed or spoke on, but this is how we do vacation. I’ll have one final post in this series and it’s the example of a completed vacation to New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Hopefully some of these ideas you find helpful and more importantly, hopefully you have a restful vacation with your young children as a family together.

Until the next post, what is furthest you’ve ever driven with your children in the car and how did that trip go? 


Don’t forget to follow our blog so you don’t miss the next installment of our summer vacation series…”Life’s a beach…vacations that don’t kill me”!


Children, Family, travel

Life’s a beach…vacations that don’t kill me- PART 3

IMG_3845.JPGLet’s talk lists!

In your preparation, you’ll have many lists in your vacation notebook and honestly, organizing your thoughts and ideas into lists goes a long way for a successful vacation. So, lists…you’ll need a list for things to pack, menu list, grocery list, activities list, things to remember to take care of before departure, etc. In this part of the series, let’s get into what some of these lists look like.

Things to pack- I’ve actually made a template in MS Excel called “Vacation Packing List”. It may seem obvious what needs to get packed but something always gets left behind. Always. What I did in creating this template is to make a column for each family member. Then I created rows of items…basically you mentally dress yourself from the undies to the shoes. Here’s our basic list…not completely inclusive and I always write things in at some point, but this helps make sure it all gets packed and blankie doesn’t get left behind!

Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 12.48.44 PM

Also..this list? Comes with us! Because you have to get all this crap back home, right?!

Menu List: Remember here you have 3 meals to consider times the number of days you’re on vacation. Include travel days, too! Some easy lunch/ dinner meals to consider:

  • Hotdogs and beans and/ or mac & cheese
  • Cheeseburgers and corn on the cob
  • Baked/ BBQ chicken tenders
  • Spaghetti & garlic bread
  • Grilled cheese and tater tots/ crinkle fries
  • Soft tacos and refried beans/ rice
  • Fish sticks and mashed potatoes

Breakfast can be cereal, frozen waffles, yogurt…whatever. It doesn’t need to be extravagant because you’re gonna want to get out of the house and out for your activity.

Grocery List: For this list, think through all meals each day and write down the ingredients you need for each thing. Next, think of any other considerations you need for the week. Swim diapers? ketchup? bottled water? Now, look through your list and see if there’s any part of it you may have on hand and can bring with you. No sense buying a coffee creamer container when you have a giant one at home from which you can pour a portion into a Ziploc bag. Look at your meal list to see if you need any spices and try to pack those if you can so you don’t need to buy them later.

Activity List: With activities, you’re at the mercy of the weather so have options. It’s amazing what kids enjoy and so often we find that the free and low cost stuff is just as exciting to them as an adventure park. We usually don’t tell the kids where we are headed each day so the excitement builds as they try to figure out what we are doing. In this list, we have indoor (rainy day) alternatives, all-day activities, short activities…go for everything. For example, our New Smyrna Beach, Florida vacation has included things like:

  • Ponce Inlet Lighthouse -$8/ adults, $4/ children
  • National Seashore -$5 parking fee all day
  • Fishing -Free
  • Flagler Ave beach- $5 parking fee
  • Brevard Zoo- $20/ adults $15/ children…also includes a water feature- need change of clothes and towels!
  • Boardwalk park- Free
  • Kennedy Space Center $50/ adult $40/ child (yikes! Maybe not this trip!)
  • Blackpoint Wildlife Drive- Free
  • Manatee viewing dock- Free
  • Dolphin cruise- $75 family or less (look for local tourism magazines for discounts)
  • Swimming pool- Free
  • Mini-golf- $25 family or less (look for local tourism magazines for discounts)
  • Bowling- $25 family or less (look for local tourism magazines for discounts)

From your activity list you can determine the time you’ll spend and from there you can figure out what meals you want to serve each day or whether it would be necessary to eat out, etc. Don’t forget AAA, military, or student discounts. If you are a member of your local zoo at home, chances are good those passes are good at the zoo at your vacation destination if they are affiliated with the same association.

Watch out for Part 4 where we’ll talk about the kid factor before, during and after vacation!

Until then, how do you feel after you return home from vacation? Are you rested or frazzled?


Don’t forget to follow our blog so you don’t miss the next installment of our summer vacation series…”Life’s a beach…vacations that don’t kill me”!


Children, Family, travel

Life’s a beach…vacations that don’t kill me- PART 2

FullSizeRender.jpgAs promised, here’s the next installment of our vacation planning that ensures we all end up having a great time.

As the cruise director for the vacation, all responsibilities fall on you. That’s a nice way to ensure the whole week sucks for you if you don’t get everything nailed down ahead of time. In the last post, I talked briefly about many points to consider for vacation. What I didn’t really talk about is where to stay while you’re there.

Let me just advocate a house or condo in place of a hotel. You may say “oh, but the hotel is nice because there’s a pool” or “I like having room service”. But consider this: the cost of most (decent, safe, clean…) hotels is about the same cost as a house. Plus, at the beach there’s a really good chance you can find a house with its own pool (and maybe also a hot tub!). A pool you don’t have to share with anyone else…one that’s accessible right out the patio door.

You don’t have to keep telling the kids to be quiet all the time, lest the family in the room next door hears the shenanigans in your room and complains. The kids get their own rooms, you have a family room, a kitchen and if you play your cards right, a floor plan that puts the master bedroom on the other end of the house! You have a washer and dryer…something that comes in handy when little one has an accident in her pants. Imagine trying to find a laundromat and spending hours washing clothes instead of enjoying your vacation.

Most importantly, you have a kitchen…a source of saved money. This is where you save a ton on breakfast. Milk and cereal…maybe some yogurt. Let me breakdown the savings by meal type for a family of five:

  • Breakfast at a fast-food place is around $30/ day, or about $220 saved for the week
  • Lunch at a fast-food place is around $34/ day, or about $240 saved for the week
  • Lunch at a sit-down place is around $58/ day, or about $406 saved for the week
  • Dinner at a sit-down place is around $70/ day, or about $490 saved for the week

So preparing and sticking to eating at the house/ condo can save around $1,100 for a family of five for the week…that’s $1,100 that will be pooped out of your family a mere 8-12 hours later. You’ll have nothing to show for that except maybe extra pounds and less toilet paper.

Now in place of eating out, you’ll need groceries for the week. Refer back to that vacation notebook and the meal list you made. Write out everything you’ll need. If you want the convenience of no dishes to clean, get paper products and plastic utensils. Include snacks for the week, too. If you’ve got room in your car when you pack, bring stuff you already have in your pantry. In Ziploc bags, bring the sugar, flour, salt, coffee, creamer, laundry packs, etc. No sense buying that stuff when you already have it.

If you’re smart about your list and stick to only what you need for each meal, snack and supplies for the week, you should be able to get your week of groceries for a family of five for about $160- $200. That amounts to about $28.60/ day you’re spending on your whole family…or $1.72 per person per meal. This is the attitude you should have in your vacation planning and execution. This is where you save a ton of money. If you’re really gung-ho, come armed with coupons.

As you choose your house/ condo to rent, remember how much you are saving in food here. That gives you a little extra to put toward the house but you shouldn’t really need to spend too much more. Good deals are out there…you just need to hunt for them. Look for local vacation rental places, inquire about specials, schedule your vacation in the off season (this is a homeschooler’s rule of thumb since we aren’t bound to a school season so I know this is a limited approach for many). For example, go to the beach in the fall instead of the summer. Believe me, it’s still hot in Florida in September…if anything it’s less nasty hot so you’d probably enjoy it more!

As far as renting a house, for comparison’s sake we were able to rent a house recently in the Ft Myers, Florida area and it had a pool with lanai, hot tub and a private dock to a canal where we fished all for $900 for the week- 3 bedrooms/ 2 bath, two-car garage, washer/ dryer, family room, and living room. About $128 per night…like I said, comparable to a hotel.

Imagine how nice it is to not have to schlep your kids’ pool crap to and from a hotel room, or not have to walk in soggy bathing suits through a cold hotel, on an elevator and into the single room all five of you will share.

Like I said…rent a house/ condo. Enjoy the kitchen. Save the money. Be happy and enjoy.

In the next posts, we’ll chat about some details…packing, activities, plan B, etc.

In the meantime, tell me what your biggest struggle is with vacation. Is it the money? The car ride?


Don’t forget to follow our blog so you don’t miss the next installment of our summer vacation series…”Life’s a beach…vacations that don’t kill me”!

Children, Family, travel

Life’s a beach…vacations that don’t kill me- PART 1

DSC_0685Summertime…school’s out, the sun is shining, the air is warm and the itch to go to the beach is real and relentless.

Planning and executing a “successful” vacation anywhere can be daunting but it is possible. The key here is the planning part. So, I’m doing a new summer series that shows you how to do family (with young children) vacations affordably, entertainingly and so organized that you won’t be able to help but have fun along the way.

Today I’m gonna lay out our vacation preparation template.

First and foremost, you need the cash for the vacation. There’s nothing worse than having a vacation that leaves your bank account empty when you return from the vacation. After all, the point of the vacation is to relax, right? There’s no sense in getting all twisted up from insufficient funds notices or maxed out credit cards. That will not do.

What we do every pay period is budget and automatically transfer $50 to our vacation savings account. If the vacation is going to be big, we’ll up that amount accordingly. So as the vacation fund is quietly growing in the background, we know we’ll have a solid funding source come vacation time.

Next comes the planning…and this begins well before vacation time starts. We have three kids and usually travel by car. So we plan. Queue the vacation notebook.

We plan for the kids’ car activity bags and consider the mess. Are the markers washable? Do the crayons melt in the hot car? Are endless goldfish crumbs worth it? Water bottles are better than juice boxes, spill-wise. Will sharing be a problem? If so, get enough for each kid and write their names on everything. Think about slouching, sleeping kids…does their unconscious slouching make for a dangerous situation seat-belt wise? Get neck pillows. Get your brain working like this and start jotting down ideas in your vacation notebook.

Food. We plan for a seven day vacation and depending on where we go, we know there’s a few restaurants we’ll want to hit while we are there. We always try to stay in a house/ condo rather than a hotel because…well, three kids. I am not spending my vacation in the same room with 3 small children. We all need our space, but more on this later. Back to the food. We plan out meals…breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Nothing fancy, no need for Top Chef here. Hotdogs and beans are fine. But write out menus in that vacation notebook…maybe get the kids involved, too. From this, you now have a grocery list…vacation notebook.

Activities. Once you get there, you’ll undoubtedly want to go do things. There’s only so long you can enjoy the location without needing to be entertained. Scope out tourism sites, Google “cheap things to do with kids in _______” and look in the comments section. That’s where the real gold is! The article may be helpful, but nothing beats other parents’ comments on what did and didn’t work for them, what they found, etc.

Look for unusual things, look for rainy day things, look for trails, parks, playgrounds, fishing holes, bowling alley locations, museums, historical landmarks…you get the idea. These are usually less expensive options to amusement parks and the like, plus these places are more likely to be fun for the whole family instead of just the kids. Another list for the vacation notebook.

As you are assembling these lists, you’ll start to see how they tie together. Some of your activities need a picnic lunch, some will go into the dinner hour, so your options for food become a bank of choices you can assign to each activity you plan for the day. Remember the more prep and forethought you put into the trip, the less likely you will be to spend money last-minute.

We tell our kids that vacation is really for Momma and Daddy to rest. We still plan for the kids, but we try to remember to allot ourselves time and opportunities to relax and have a good time otherwise vacation is basically the same crap in a different toilet, if I can be so elegant.

Over the next bit, I’ll spell out the components of our vacations, budget, and give an example success story or two so you can see how we pull off a vacation for 5 very economically, while having a great time together as a family.

Update: Check out Part 2 here!!

In the meantime, I would love to hear of your favorite places to vacation. Where do you keep going back to?

Don’t forget to follow our blog so you don’t miss the next installment of our summer vacation series…”Life’s a beach…vacations that don’t kill me”!



Children, Family

Pinch Me!

This day went like most others…not really anything to write home about.

Kids played, they did school, they played some more, they ran errands with Daddy, they made lunch, we all ate dinner together, they argued, they laughed they cried. They spent some time in time out. All normal things in the course of the day.

And then something amazing happened. Just amazing. This happened:


Boy child decided that he really wanted to vacuum. In fact, he didn’t even come right out and tell us. I found him playing with baby girl’s Minnie Mouse play vacuum, just humming the motor sounds as he moved methodically back and forth.

I saw his technique and the dedication to his craft so I asked him, “Boy child, would you like to use the real vacuum and vacuum the family room floor?”

Oh, the joy in his eyes! He couldn’t nod his head quickly or harshly enough to convey how much “yes” he wanted to.

Never one to miss an opportunity to bribe my children, I told boy child to go brush his teeth and get his jammies on. If his teeth were sparkly and his jammies on, I would get the vacuum for him to use.

I have never seen such efficiency. Or quality of work. Or enthusiasm for cleaning. Pinch me! I have a child who wants to clean!!

Who is this boy? And what is going on?? You know what- doesn’t matter. He wants to vacuum, who am I to stand in his way?!

So I plug the vacuum in, and he insists on stepping on the release to bring the body of the vacuum down and he gets started. Man, he’s good. He’s got the wire in his grip so he doesn’t accidentally run over the cord and suck it up.

And then…he did something that made me speechless.

He started moving things around so he could vacuum underneath! Praise God, my boy is thorough!! He did a phenomenal job and his heart was full of clean, vacuuming joy! That is until he got to the best part…

Stepping on the lever that automatically winds up the long, twisted cord back into the hungry belly of the vacuum cleaner.

The smile on boy child’s face and his tip-toeing around his own handiwork was a sight to behold.

And just like that, he was off to something else he wanted to do.


Children, Family


D587DC83-B949-418C-BA27-739E486E4AEFIt happened one day that our first child came into the world. Soon after another child and then a third child. So our hearts were filled with love and our home filled with child-noise…a special noise that is many things all at once. Lovely and irritating. Joyful and frustrating. Amazing and exhausting.

So many things all balled up into the experience of having little ones and if you blink you could miss it.

Of course that’s what everyone tells you and of course you think you heed the warning but I have been almost scared to find that it’s actually true. Where did all the time go?

A few weeks ago we were begging for a night without a crying baby.

Last week we watched our little one take her first steps.

Three days ago, he begged us for his paci because we were weaning him off. “I na ma paci!!! I na ma PAAAACCCCIIIII!!!”

Just yesterday, she stopped needing pull-ups.

Now our kids are still on the young side but they are growing fast and furious and I’m starting to be concerned at how unprepared I am for them to grow all the way up.

Sometimes I look at girl child and think that in the same amount of time that’s already passed, she will be driving a car. She won’t need her friend Teddy anymore.

I look at boy child and think that someday, even though he’s not interested at all right now, there’s a girl who’s going to be more important to him than his Momma.

With Baby girl, I think, “You’re already so strong and determined. Am I ready for the firecracker you are going to be in your teen years?”

It didn’t occur to me that the babies we wanted so desperately and finally received would eventually grow up and start their own lives and now that I see them starting to grow more independent, it’s hit me that there’s an end to our little family under our roof.

They’re gonna stop wanting to snuggle up. These babies are learning how to leave me and I guess that’s part of the joy of parenting…teaching your children how to get along without you.

Yeah I’m not prepared for that at all.

Children, Family

I’m kind of a thief!

9eea464898656e7fa5931defa7e5cfc610ff95dcThat’s right…a thief.

Well, thief is a really strong word. Actually, I collect my payment without bothering the debtor with the details of repayment specifics.

See, it’s much easier to just quietly collect my payment than to go back and forth on negotiation and who said what and terms of agreement. Let’s not get caught up in the details.

Of course, my little debtors don’t really know they are indebted to me. But they are. Oh, they owe me big time! But that’s ok…I collect when I can and they are generally none the wiser.

I’m kind of like a repo lady but I only repo perishable goods.

I think you know where I’m going with this…are you with me?? I go through my kids candy stash like it was my own. Of course, I leave the super awesome candy that the kids have already inventoried, bar coded and sorted. And I apply a percentage-type fee. So baby girl’s stash is a little less picked through than boy & girl child’s stashes.

There are three generally lucrative times in which I collect payment from my unsuspecting brood: Christmas, Easter and Halloween.

I do not apologize for this method of payment. I stand by my actions and I believe there are more out there like me! Which leads me to the following:

Children, Family

The irony of me

FullSizeRender.jpg-1Last night I got to do something I haven’t been able to do in a long time.

I got to play in the yard with my kids. And get this…my cell phone? In the house somewhere!! I know, right?

We had three kids, two soccer balls and a frisbee and a lot of laughter. It was so nice and I didn’t realize how much I missed being able to just be with the kids.

I wasn’t correcting anyone, I wasn’t scolding anyone…no one went to time out. No one was upset. The world fell away and for about a half an hour after dinner, I had the fun of just being with my kids.

The older two had their “world championship” soccer match in the cul-de-sac. They stretched before-hand and discussed strategy. It was a big deal. I have no idea who won or what the parameters were but they did and the game worked beautifully in their eyes.

My extra special treat was to actually play “kick the ball” with baby girl and she was in heaven to have my complete attention. And little did I know, she can actually kick the ball really good! She’s got some skill apparently.

As with all good things, this time came to an end and the kids scampered into the house- out of breath, cheeks rosy and hair stuck to their faces with hard-earned sweat. Today I sit all day, alone, doing mandatory grown-up things and think that I would so much rather be home actually playing with my kids.

It was just a typical evening of fun for them but it was so important to me. They won’t even know or understand the irony of what it is to be me. I leave them everyday, all day, to make a living- for them. I work and work to be able to give them what they need.

You know what they keep telling me that they need? Me.

Does this describe you at all? Tell me in the comments!

Children, Family

They hate the tire shop

Every so often, the cars need to go to the tire shop for tire rotation and, if necessary, an alignment. This is a task usually completed by dear husband with three children in tow. Since the kids are homeschooled, we have the ability to move the schedule around and take advantage of shorter lines during the day. Probably one of the best side-benefits of homeschooling…outside of the excellent education the kids receive, of course!

So the first time they all went, the kids were really excited to see the tire shop and how the cars were magically lifted into the air. They were beside themselves to see big stacks of rubbery-smelling tires on display and even more so, with shiny humongous rims!

DB9968E6-0CFB-44EF-AB34-C64E80F6DDDC.JPGHowever, this excitement soon (so very soon) wore off and it is now gone forever.

No longer is there excitement over going to the tire shop. Cars lifted magically in the air? Eh. Big stacks of tires? Who cares…they smell funny. Shiny humongous rims? Not interested.

You know tire shops are no fun…and you also know tire shop trips are usually not quick ones.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that most tire shops do not cater to children?

Task number one is to assess the attention of other patrons as it relates to the Maury Povich episode currently playing on the old box TV that still for some reason has actual rabbit ear antennae poking out from behind it. Thanks to smartphones, no one is usually paying attention to the idiot box so the next task is to secure the remote and change the channel.

A cursory request if anyone minds a change of the channel to Clifford the Big Red Dog usually results in others’ obliging. Perhaps some even…dare I say…start to watch old Clifford? No judgment, though, it’s a great show!

And so begins the wait….and wait….and wait…for the car…to be finished…

After that first trip, the mention of the tire shop elicited loud groaning and general objection from the kids. That is, until dear husband found a tire shop he likes which sits just a few doors down from a Chick-fil-a!!! With an indoor playground!!!


So, a trip to the tire shop?? Score!! All that’s needed is to drop off the car and take a short walk down the street.


Lunch and playground time is a much better way to pass the time at the tire shop.

It smells much better at Chick-fil-a, too!

Are there any errands you have to run that you know you’re kids are going to hassle you about because they have to tag along? Tell me in the comments!


Children, Family

Back in the rotation!

IMG_3119.JPGWe have been gifted with American Girl dolls- really, girl child has been gifted with them. These dolls have been handed down by family and trust me, I know the value of these dolls.

Despite that, girl child and baby girl have been playing with these dolls, both together and individually, and entering into their world of imagination. Perhaps a classroom, perhaps a ballet class, perhaps even on a safari.

All I know is that they get to playing and there’s a whole narrative that they all follow and the dolls are often a part of that storyline.

So it’s nice to hear cooperative playing. Until…the inevitable screech that breaks the utopia. This particular time was a doozy.

In walks girl child holding one of these American Girl dolls…but something was amiss. Ah, yes, I see it. She has a leg missing. This is super. I’ll give you three guesses who popped the leg off? Baby girl doesn’t know her own strength. Or doesn’t care…not sure.

At any rate, here we are with a doll missing a leg. And American Girl was kind enough to make some funky contraption inside the doll that connects all appendages to the trunk of the doll- each connection protruding from a tiny hole. So there is literally no chance I can fix this thing on my own. In all fairness, neither could Doc McStuffins, so…

Fast forward to Christmas. Each child had the opportunity to go shopping for their siblings’ Christmas presents. So I took Baby Girl to Walmart. As we were wandering the aisle, I try to prompt her on reasonably priced toys but nothing is catching her eye.

Until…she found the perfect gift for girl child…and the doll:

Baby girl came up with this on her own! And it’s perfect. So now, this doll is back in the rotation of dolls to play with. The other dolls push her around in the wheelchair. And my kids inadvertently taught themselves a lesson in accepting a doll for who she is, no matter her injury or limitation.